Ralf encourages FA Youth Cup heroes
Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick firmly believes the club's FA Youth Cup heroes are at the right place when it comes to striving to break into senior football.
Travis Binnion's Under-18s defeated Wolves 3-0 at Old Trafford in midweek to reach the final of the prestigious competition for the first time since 2011, with Nottingham Forest or Chelsea due to come to Old Trafford to contest the silverware.
It was a splendid team display on Wednesday night and Ralf has been impressed by what he has seen within the ranks at United, stressing that there could be future options for the first team if they can add physical prowess to their technical ability.
Part one: Ralf’s press conference before Spurs (H)
Ralf discusses four players, as well as some important non-footballing topics, before the Spurs game...
Anthony Elanga has emerged as a matchday squad regular and started his first senior Manchester derby last weekend after recently grabbing the all-important equaliser in the Champions League round-of-16 draw in the first leg at Atletico Madrid.
Hannibal has also been training regularly with the squad and was on the bench again for the defeat to City, showing that opportunities can arise for homegrown youngsters even when the stakes are so high at Premier League level.
It is this obvious pathway which has always been evident at United and Rangnick sees no reason why that will change, particularly considering the talent levels within the Academy.
When asked by MUTV's Stewart Gardner if the likes of Anthony and Hannibal can prove there is a clear path for the younger players, Rangnick replied: "Yes, I hope it does, that they have realised that it's possible but it's always been possible at a club like Manchester, that young players, if their attitude is right, if they had enough talent and enough mentality, there is a pathway to become a regular player for this club.
"I've seen them play, not in the semi-final, but in the quarter-final against Leicester and I also watched the game against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Youth League.
"Yes, there are quite a few technical players, really good players in possession of the ball, and, if they can combine that with physicality, with speed that is also necessary for this league, the Premier League, I would be very happy to see a couple of those players in the first team in the next years."
United's Under-18s overcame Wolves with goals from Charlie McNeill (2) and Alejandro Garnacho and Saturday's return to league action, away to Liverpool, is being shown live on MUTV with an 11:00 GMT kick-off.